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George Wallace

George Wallace (August 25, 1919 to September 13, 1998) was an American politician, who was elected Governor of Alabama four times (1962, 1970, 1974 and 1982) and ran for US President in (1968, 1972 and 1976). He was widely known for opposing the Civil Rights Movement and school integration in the United States during the 1960s. He stood in front of a school in an attempt to stop integration. He was a strong supporter of states' rights. Later in life, he reportedly apologized for his views on integration.

Alabama's constitution prevented him from seeking a second term in 1966. That restriction was later repealed. Wallace found a way around this by having his wife, Lurleen Wallace run for office. She won the election. It was widely known at the time of the election that George Wallace would actually run the state. His wife, however, passed away in 1968. George Wallace was a member of the Democratic party. However, when he ran for President in 1968, it was as a member of the American Independent Party. He had hoped to receive enough electoral votes to force the US House of Representatives to decide the election. This did not occur.

Despite his views, Wallace was an entertaining campaigner. To hippies who said he was a Nazi, he replied, "I was killing fascists when you punks you in diapers." To other hippies, he said, "You shout four letter words at me, well, I have two for you S-O-A-P and W-O-R-K." Another memorible quote to liberals was: "They're building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia."

Wallace said he disagreed with Abraham Lincoln that blacks should be able to vote, serve on juries, or hold public office - although he agreed with Lincoln that equality for blacks could come with education, uplift and time. (Before the Storm, Rick Perlstein, 317)

In 1968 Wallace rode white fury at the 1967 Detroit riots (see Jerome Cavanagh) and won the Democratic primary there. In 1972, he won Maryland. The white backlash was not confined to the South.

During his 1972 campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, a would-be assassin named Arthur H. Bremer and permanently wounded Wallace. The attempt left Wallace paralyzed.

George Wallace would remarry twice, with each marriage ending in divorce. In 1971, Wallace wed Cornelia Ellis Snively, a niece of former Alabama Governor James E. Folsom. The couple were divorced in 1978. In 1981, Wallace married Lisa Taylor, a country music singer. That relationship ended in 1987.